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Repeal Capital Punishment in North Carolina, Says Study

April 18, 2011

BOONE, N.C. - "End the death penalty in North Carolina," suggests a recent study, which asserts that capital punishment is not a deterrent to criminals and costs the public more does than a sentence of life in prison. Another factor is the recent revelation that evidence has been mishandled by the state crime lab, possibly sending innocent people to death row, as study author Dr. Matthew Robinson, professor of government and justice studies at Appalachian State University, explains.

"It's not fixable. It's not something that we can make effective. It's not something that we can bring about justice with. It's not something we can guarantee won't be used against the innocent."

Executions in North Carolina haven't taken place since 2006, in part because of a dispute over the constitutionality of the lethal-injection process. Meanwhile, the murder rate declined by 19 percent from 2008 to 2009.

In March, Illinois became the fourth state in the last two years to repeal the death penalty. That state had halted executions in 2000 because of revelations of false convictions and evidence mishandling.

Robinson says changing the law will give the state more resources for victim services and law enforcement.

"The savings that they're going to retain in money from not having the death penalty, they're going to actually use to solve crimes and pursue violent crime."

Supporters of the death penalty say the punishment should still be available for the most violent crimes. Capital punishment is used in 34 states and in certain federal cases, but most western democracies no longer carry out executions.

The study is available at www.pscj.appstate.edu

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC